SAVOR Taipei

August 4, 2016 2016年8月4日

Street food culture and Taiwan are practically inseparable from one another. What the island is probably most well-known for are the lively night markets, populated with countless stalls offering a smorgasbord of cheap and tasty local delicacies. But unfortunately, even with food being such a central part of Taiwanese culture, the region is rarely associated with fine dining. Meet Nicolas Chang, the head chef and the founder of SAVOR, a passionate individual who feels like Taiwan’s terroir is an overlooked and untapped resource, a land offering a rich selection of rare produce and unique flavors. So after studying culinary arts abroad and being mentored by world-renowned chefs in Paris, he was set on returning to Taipei and opening a restaurant of his own.


一提到台灣,似乎總也繞不開那熱鬧夜市中,滿目琳瑯的街頭餐飲文化,不過可惜的是,很少有人想起這裡的精緻餐飲。SAVOR店的老闆兼主廚Nicolas Chang卻認為台灣本土的餐飲文化遭到了忽視,豐富的料理製作和風味都未被開發,待人探索。經海外學藝、師承巴黎知名主廚的Nicolas返回台灣,打造屬於自己的餐廳品牌。

His debut restaurant À Table, a private dining space, officially opened in 2011. “À Table was small, and the kitchen was probably only around ten square meters,” Nicolas describes. “Customers actually had to pass through the kitchen in order to get to the restroom. But I viewed the space restriction differently – I saw it as an intimate setting where I could share my passion for food with all my guests.” But after running À Table for two years, and as his customer base steadily grew, he felt an obligation to provide a more complete dining experience. “I felt like I had a responsibility to give them something even better, to give them a more well-rounded dining experience. SAVOR was born out of that sense of responsibility,” Nicolas says.


他的首家餐廳“A Table”在2011年正式開張。 Nicolas 這樣介紹他的小私廚:“À Table空間很小,廚房大概不到3坪,客人上廁所還必須要進到廚房。但這有限的空間卻給以我別有洞天的存在——在這裡我可以用最親近的方式去與客人分享我的料理精神,”小私廚開了兩年後,客源穩定增長,Nicolas的責任感也在不斷攀升,希望為大家提供一個更加舒適完整的用餐體驗。他說:“我覺得我有義務為客人帶來更好的美食,同時創造更棒的用餐環境。SAVOR就是在這種理念下應運而生。”

Nicolas’ story actually begins in the Pampas of South America and Argentina. Growing up in this region, the produce he ate often came straight from the field; his appreciation for locally sourced and organically grown ingredients can be traced back to this period of time “Now with SAVOR, we actually work with an aboriginal lady in Hualien. She’s working tirelessly to restore some of the edible wild plants native to Taiwan. Every year, we’ll visit her garden with our team and see what kind of treasures we can dig up,” says Nicolas. These types of wild plants are rarely seen in any Taipei restaurants, let alone in high-end gastronomy. But the obscure nature of these plants is undoubtedly part of the appeal for both Nicolas and his guests, who share a mutual interest in being taken out of their culinary comfort zones.


Nicolas的故事更早可以追溯到在南美阿根廷彭巴大草原上長大的童年。成長於那片土地,他從小就接觸純天然的環境,吃最新鮮的食材。他對本土有機食材的偏愛或許從那時起就埋下種子。 “在打造SAVOR時,我們在台灣的花蓮有一個合作很好的原住民阿姨。她致力於復育台灣原生種野菜。我們整個團隊都每年會去她家的菜園挖掘寶貝。”他說。這些種類繁多的野菜在如今的台北餐廳都鮮為人知了,更別提在一些高端的料理店。但這些不起眼的野菜,在同樣不拘泥於固有美食舒適圈的Nicolas與其食客眼裡,卻有著巨大的吸引力。

Citing his grandmother as an influence, Nicolas vividly recalls memories of her cooking. “She was a fantastic cook. Her cooking style was a mix of traditional Japanese and Taiwanese. When I taste her food, I can always feel the love and sincerity that she puts into it,” he says. “One of our amuse-bouches from the previous menu was a dish made with tomatoes and plums, which was then encapsulated in a tomato-flavored water sphere. The flavors of this dish were closely tied to my childhood, and through it, my intention was to share those memories with my guests.” Some of his other favorites include: a scallop dish, drizzled with a flavorful reduced sauce made with fifteen different vegetables; a tuna tartare dish, served with Taiwanese anchovy on a dried citrus peel; and a puffed purple rice dish, inspired by Hualien cuisine and made with magao, a rare type of spice used by aboriginal natives in Eastern Taiwan that tastes like a blend of black pepper, lemon, and ginger.


深受奶奶料理影響的Nicolas回憶起她的烹飪,仍舊記憶猶新:“我奶奶她是一個了不起的廚師,混合了傳統日式和台式的烹飪風格。每當我吃到她菜,總是能讓我感到她滲入其中的愛和誠意。我們之前的菜單上有一道用番茄和李子為原料而製作的餐前小點心,就是來自那個時候裝在水壺裡呈番茄味道的飲料。這道點心的味道總讓我想起自己的童年,我也希望通過它與我的客人們分享我童年的記憶。”他最愛的菜餚還有:扇貝搭配由15種不同蔬菜濃縮而成的可口蘸醬,韃靼吞拿魚綴以陳皮台灣鳀魚,花蓮特色鬆軟紫米飯,混以台灣東部原住民的一種叫做馬告的罕見香料,味道似黑胡椒、檸檬和生薑混合而成。

During my brief visit, the SAVOR kitchen was brimming with movement; the kitchen staff moved quickly and purposefully, chopping away and dilligently preparing for the upcoming dinner service. Nicolas moved around the kitchen in equal haste, ensuring the efficiency and quality of the entire preparation process. After prep was over, he decided to work on refining an upcoming dessert with the free time. Employing a classic molecular gastronomy technique, Nicolas plucks a large container of liquid carbon dioxide from the back of his kitchen and began to douse a pre-blended mixture with the contents. Intermittently, Nicolas would spoon a homemade hibiscus-based syrup in between applications of the carbon dioxide. The metallic countertop quickly overflows with white vapor as the blend flash-freezes into a solid. Wasting no time, Nicolas picks up a pestle and begins pummeling the frozen solid into shards of rose-colored marshmallows. “It’s done like this on purpose. I’m aiming to create organic shape similar to rocks,” Nicolas said. “I like to play with intuition, which is always fun. Unfortunately, we’re still in the process of constructing this dessert and it’s not quite ready yet.”


在我短暫的採訪期間,整個SAVOR的廚房在有條不紊地運作中,工作人員動作麻利,分工明晰,為即將開始​​的晚餐進行切墩等各種準備工作。 Nicolas忙碌但有序的身影穿梭在廚房裡,保障整個後廚工作有效地順利開展。準備工作結束後,Nicolas在剩餘的時間裡全神貫注雕琢一道即將推出的甜點。這道料理是運用經典的分子料理烹飪技術,只見Nicolas從廚房後排拿出一個碩大的液態二氧化碳烹飪器,噴灑在搭配好的食材中,在這不斷的噴灑二氧化碳過程裡,不時地舀一勺自製芙蓉花糖漿點綴其中,金屬材質的桌面上迅速溢出白色蒸汽,混合著其他食材凝結成固體。緊接著他就拿起一根棒子朝著那凝結而成的固體毫不猶豫地敲擊下去,剎時散落成片片玫瑰色的糖霜。他說:“我就是故意這麼做的,就是希望創造出宛如岩石質感的天然形態。我喜歡緊隨直覺,那通常都非常有趣。不過遺憾的是,這個甜點還在試驗階段,還不能正式推出上桌。”

Despite being formally trained in France, it’s impressive to see the ways Nicolas’ dishes pay homage to Taiwan. Even more impressive is seeing how every dish that comes out of the SAVOR kitchen is a creatively constructed piece of gastronomic art. He tells me, “We do what we do not because we want to stand out from others. We want to stand up for those who have contributed so much in terms of agriculture and culture. Our predecessors have paved the way for us, and now it is our time to make things even better.”


主廚Nicolas儘管在法國正式受訓學藝,但全心旨在於以創新的烹飪方式推廣台灣本土飲食文化,他表示:“我們不斷挑戰自己,只為在同行中脫穎而出。我們希望與那些在農學以及其文化方面貢獻良多的人們一起努力。前人已為我們打下良好的基礎,現在是該我們進一步向前推動的時候了。”

Address:

No. 7, Lane 96, Jiangnan Street
Neihu District, Taipei
Taiwan

Phone:
+886 2 8797 5267

Hours:
Wednesday ~ Sunday
6pm ~ 10pm (Reservation only)

Websitesavorgroup.com.tw
Facebook~/savorgroup

 

Contributor: David Yen
Photographers: Chunyang Lin, David Yen


地址:

台灣
台北市內湖區
江南街96巷7號

電話:
+886 2 8797 5267

營業時間:
週三~週日
6pm ~ 10pm (預約制)

網站savorgroup.com.tw
臉書: ~/savorgroup

 

供稿人: David Yen
摄影师: Chunyang Lin, David Yen